HYPE: A Facilitator’s Perspective


Tess White, Writer


On Thursday, March 16th at 6:30 am I piled onto a bus along with forty or so other upperclassmen from Souhegan, heading to Durham, NH. On the bus, most of us slept for the first part. But as we approached UNH, we all started to talk about what was waiting for us there. 

We were heading to UNH to facilitate the HYPE conference. HYPE stands for Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts, and is a conference where high school students discuss the conference’s essential question for the year. This year’s essential question was “what does it mean to be a responsible citizen?” The question is picked by the Ethics Forum at Souhegan, along with some groups from some other high schools in the area. These student-run groups are actually responsible for the entire conference. The main event of the conference is when all the participants break down into groups of about ten people and are led by a facilitator in the discussion of the essential question. The other kids on my bus and I were some of the facilitators for the event.

I initially was nervous to lead a group of students in a discussion. I, being a junior, had never been to HYPE or knew much about it. Back in January, the Ethics Forum asked some juniors and seniors to be facilitators. We then had a training day to learn about what our job would be and how to handle it. On this training day we got to meet the facilitators from other schools as well. At first, it was very awkward because we were all from different schools and didn’t know each other. But, this was actually a good thing because we go to experience what it is like to be with a group of strangers and try to break down the barriers between us.

This came in handy when I was with my group at HYPE. Again, we were all strangers and knew nothing about each other. So, after some ice breaking games such as “two truths and lie” and the name game, the tension between us released and we were ready for a good discussion. I reread the EQ to the group and then let my group take it from there. Whenever the discussion came to a dull point, I would add my thoughts or read a quote from our packets to try to get it going again. This led to a great discussion on what it means to be a responsible citizen and how that is shown in our day to day lives.\

After the discussion, we all went to the dining hall to have lunch. Although I sat with my friends from Souhegan, across the room or in line I would see a member of my group and we would wave and laugh at each other. HYPE let me have a chance to meet these new people which I never would have before.
Facilitating at HYPE was very fun and rewarding. Although it may seem scary at first, meeting new kids from other schools and getting to know them is part of what HYPE is all about. It is also very fun. Another fun part was participating in a deep and meaningful conversation. I can not wait to be apart of HYPE again next year.